Donnie Darko

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This is the long review, and it contains COMPLETE SPOILERS. This is a good movie, and if you read this it’ll give everything away…you may want to watch it first, it is worth it.

Is Donnie crazy? or more in touch with the universe than anyone around him?

The Bird Lady and her spouse gave me this for my birthday last year, it being one of her favorite movies, and to tell the truth, it had been on my Netflix list for quite a while. “You’ll like it,” she said, “it’s got a demonic bunny in it.”

So I took it with me on one of my visits to Southern California, to watch in my motel room.

And Frank the bunny was oogie. So I stopped watching it about 15 minutes along, thinking I would wait until Mr. Otter could watch it with me. I mentioned this to the Bird Lady. “Oh, no,” she said, “Frank isn’t oogie, really, you’ll see.”

So Mr. Otter and I watched it. And, as I had suspected: Frank was way, way oogie. Even after you find out what’s going on with him…he’s oogie.
Having said all that, this was a pretty darn good movie.

Firstly, it stars Jake Gyllenhaal, serious honey. This was made in 2001, when he was only 21, but his honeyness is apparant, and is only getting more and more evident. And he’s a good actor too, double points to you Mr. Gyllenhaal!

The other actors in this move are good too, and Drew Barrymore is so understated that I totally didn’t recognize her. Amazing. And the special effects are really good too. And of course Frank is there for oogies.

And the plot. Hm. On the one hand, it was really fascinating…on the other hand, I had problems with how it worked out, which is where the reality police show up.
Let me preface the next part by saying that I love time travel stories (except Wells’ The Time Machine, that does nothing for me, especially the 2002 version). I love ‘change the past and change the present’, ‘modern people dealing with the past’, and ‘wierd paradoxes ensue and make your brain hurt’ among other kinds of stories, and this movie falls into two out of three of those categories.

So here’s where the reality police show up: he sees the plane crash with his mother and sister on it (the storm is coming!!!) and he (makes the decision? gives up? is drawn back against his will?) goes back in time…and is killed by the airplane engine, which means that his girlfriend and Frank don’t die.

But. Hold on a minute, folks. Yes, he solved that problem, and maybe that’s all he was trying to do…the film ends with his girlfriend Gretchen riding her bike past his house and you know she’s going to be ok because she never knew him. And he doesn’t do all the vandalism and stuff. Which means that the child pornographer played by Patrick Swayze…will not be caught, and will go on doing his thing. Not good.

And also, since Swayze wasn’t caught til after the talent show, it means that Donnie’s sister will still be on the plane that crashes, even though his mom won’t be…unless there’s some reason to believe that the freak tornado that kills her/them doesn’t happen…but why wouldn’t it? And the English teacher might still get laid off, but that’s debateable.

So Donnie has decided to go back and die, to save his girlfriend and Frank, but his sister is still going to die and the guy he hates is still free to do his porn thing…hm. And how in heck did a 15 year old kid manage to write words IN CEMENT? in CURSIVE, no less??? I might accept that hysterical strength could put the axe in a bronze statue, but the letters? didn’t work for me…

But quibbles aside, it’s a very good, suspenseful movie, a little scary, kind of perplexing, great psychological stuff that’s interesting to try to put together, good for those who like conspiracy theory sorts of stuff and also plain ol’ science fiction buffs like me. Watch it and enjoy it, this is a good one.

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